I had been looking forward to this book all year having pre-ordered it on Amazon what seems like ages ago.
The story follows the struggles of Podkin (a rabbit), his sister Paz and baby brother Pook as they flee into the snowy woods after the evil Gorm – mentally twisted, blood-thirsty, iron-clad rabbits – have overrun their warren and killed their father, the chief.
The story is told by a wandering bard on Bramblemass Eve to a clutch of entranced young rabbits. We cut from the tale every now and then to remind us of how the story is being told and for the bard to field questions from the young rabbits.
It opens really well. Atmospheric and engaging as the bard trudges through the snow to the burrow.
The Gorm are tracking Podkin as he has a fabled dagger that can cut anything other than iron. As they flee, Pod, Paz and Pook find friends and foes as they try to keep one step ahead of the Gorm.
I enjoyed the story very much but did find a number of aspects rather odd (spoilers imminent!). The story is entitled ‘Podkin One-Ear’ so I sort of assumed that the loss of his ear would be of some significance in the story. Nope. He loses it very early on, trapped under a portcullis fleeing a warren. Pretty unlucky but of no other importance. I then wondered if it would ‘mark’ him in some fashion, make him easier for the Gorm to find… nope. No one is searching for a rabbit with one ear. I then wondered if it would have some significance in the final scenes of the book. Nope.
The book ends well all the same. There’s a little twist, which I won’t spoil here, in a satisfying ending. Although very few in number, there are some wonderful double-page illustrations at key stages in the book. Personally, I would have happily seen more of those.
I’ve seen that other reviewers compare it to Watership Down. Other than the characters being rabbits, I don’t really follow the comparison at all. It’s a good book in its own right. Kids will enjoy the relationship between the three rabbits and the characters they meet along the way. It’s action packed and a sequel seems assured.
The Gorm are not yet defeated…
Rating out of 5: ♦♦♦♦
Suggested age: 7 -10